Maldives: Pro-China leader Mohamed Muizzu wins Presidential election; PM Modi congratulates
Pro-China leader Mohamed Muizzu wins Maldives presidential election, defeating incumbent Mohamed Solih.
Pro-China leader Mohamed Muizzu has won the Presidential election in Maldives. PM Narendra Modi also congratulated Muizzu on being elected as president of the Maldives.
Muizzu defeated incumbent Mohamed Solih to become president of the island nation.
This was the second round of polling after no candidate emerged clear winner in the first round.
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Muizzu, 45, helms a party that presided over an influx of Chinese loans when it last held power in the atoll nation, better known for its luxury beach resorts and celebrity tourists.
He won 54.06 percent of the vote in the run-off contest, prompting incumbent Ibrahim Mohamed Solih to concede defeat shortly before midnight.
The outcome also marks a stark reversal of fortune for Solih, who won the last election in 2018 by a landslide, amid widespread anger over human rights abuses and corruption under his predecessor.
About Mohamed Muizzu:
Mohamed Muizzu, 45, is a British-educated civil engineer. He was an unlikely candidate for the presidency after serving as construction minister in the government of his mentor Abdulla Yameen.
But Yameen's jailing for corruption saw Muizzu tapped to lead the party as his proxy in an election fought on whether the strategically placed atoll aligns itself with China or India.
Muizzu oversaw several Chinese-funded infrastructure projects including a $200-million bridge linking the capital with the archipelago's main airport.
Muizzu's election success hinged on a sustained campaign against India's outsized political and economic clout in the Maldives.
Muizzu has also vowed to pardon Yameen, the architect of their party's eager embrace of Beijing's financial largesse through the Belt and Road Initiative.
Yameen is currently serving an 11-year jail term on the same remote prison island he had imprisoned opponents during his autocratic presidency.
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